Monday, November 18, 2013

Song about Rav Ovadia

A lot has been said about Rav Ovadia over the past 6 weeks since he ascended to the Heavenly Beit Midrash.
How he tried to change the way the Torah World approaches halacha and to return to a halachic system based on Shulchan Aruch and Gmara, and not on mysticism and Chumra.
They even said from "מיוסף (קארו) ליוסף לא קם כיוסף", that his impact on Halacha was as great as the most famous Halachist of the past thousand years - Rabbi Yosef Karo.

On the Shloshim of Rav Ovadia, his son, Rav Yizthak Yosef spoke at my son's Yeshiva. He spoke about the importance of learning Halacha - not so that we can know what is forbidden, but so that we know what is permitted. Just like a rav (or any Torah observant Jew) needs to know when to say "no you can't do this" he also needs to know when to say "yes - this is allowed".

In this day and age when people are trying to find a Halachic approach that is "לכל הדעות", permissible by every single opinion - it is important to remember that each of us belong to a Halachic tradition that favoured certain opinions over others, and we have clear guidelines of what is permitted and what is forbidden - and just like we should avoid anything forbidden, if an action is permitted, we should not be afraid to do it.

This does not mean we should go and look for leniencies; we shouldn't shop for a Rabbi to give his approval for anything we want to do. But we also shouldn't shop for stringencies. If an action is permitted by Halacha and was accepted in our tradition in previous generations, we should not be "frummer" than the Rabbis of previous generations.

The song below is a little bit kitsch - but the image of an empty chair in a room full of books is a wonderful metaphor for our generation.

כוכב מאיר I עוזיה צדוק Kochav Meir I Uziya Tzadok

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